Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Classic Stuffed Peppers

Sometimes comfort food is in order and for me, stuffed peppers are one of those comfort foods I love. They remind me of my mom, who made them fairly regularly growing up. And even though when I was little I wanted "stuffed peppers without the pepper" (aka, meatballs) which Mom was good enough to oblige this one menu request, I eventually grew to love the pepper part too. Now I make these and serve them up with lots of mashed potatoes and a salad for a hearty, comforting delicious dinner. I love the seasoning, the extra texture from the rice and frankly, the satisfying look of a pepper just overstuffed and overflowing with a delicious filling.

Stuffed peppers were one of those recipes my mom just knew­­--nothing written down, no cookbook references, just what she learned from her mother and grandmother, completely in her head. So I took to the internet and struggled to find a recipe I liked. So many of them have cheese or required me to cook the meat and the peppers before, well, cooking the actual meal. Mom was definitely not interested in a lot of extra work to make dinner, so I knew I could find something just as delicious and satisfying that wouldn't require a bunch of extra steps. Enter this recipe from Women LivingWell, posted by Courtney. It has all the makings that I remember, but I upped the seasoning with some of my own favorites I remember Mom including. And instead of making a tomato soup style sauce, I used a combination of diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. My peppers had a bit of bite left to them, which I like, but if you want them more tender go ahead and blanch them before you cook. Or better yet, cook this recipe in the crock pot (I'd say low for 7­8 hours), and you'll have some nice and soft peppers. And one heck of a comforting dinner.

Classic Stuffed Peppers


4 medium/large green peppers
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
16 ounces tomato sauce, divided
14.5 ounces diced tomatoes
3/4 cup bread crumbs
3/4 cup cooked rice
1 medium onion, diced
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup water

Wash the peppers then slice off the stem and a bit of the top. Remove the core and seeds and rinse the inside. Slice each pepper in half, creating an open­-sided cup.

In a large bowl, combine beef, 1/2 cup tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, bread crumbs, rice, diced onion, eggs, Italian seasoning, garlic, salt, pepper, basil, oregano, parsley and onion powder. Squish all the ingredients together until just combined.

Grab a handful of the meat mixture and stuff into the pepper halves. Arrange stuffed peppers in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.

Pour remaining tomato sauce evenly over the stuffed peppers and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Drizzle water into the base of the pan, avoiding pouring over the peppers.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees F for an hour.

Remove from oven and serve hot with mashed potatoes and salad or steamed vegetables.

Makes 8 servings.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

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